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Author Archives: J. Brooks Davis

Cops don’t have to be Coppolas, says appeals court

By Phillip Bantz, South Carolina Lawyers Weekly Police officers have to film field sobriety tests during DUI traffic stops under a South Carolina law that has irked prosecutors since the defense bar pushed the statute into existence in the 1990s. The video recording requirement has resulted in dismissals of seemingly slam-dunk cases because parts of… Read More »

Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team holds first meeting

FAA Press Release People are captivated by the limitless possibilities the drone industry offers, but with them comes a host of safety challenges, as hundreds of thousands of drones take to the sky. At the Federal Aviation Administration, we realize we can’t solve these challenges alone. We need the expertise and collaboration of key industry… Read More »

FAA Proposes $78,000 Civil Penalty Against Amazon For Alleged Hazardous Materials Violations

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $78,000 civil penalty against Amazon.com, Inc., for allegedly violating the Hazardous Materials Regulations. The FAA alleges that on August 7, 2015, Amazon offered FedEx an undeclared shipment containing a flammable liquid for air transportation from Ruskin, Fla., to Algonquin, Ill. The… Read More »

Fly Safe: Prevention of Loss of Control Accidents

September 27– The FAA and General Aviation (GA) group’s #FlySafe national safety campaign aims to educate the GA community on best practices for calculating and predicting aircraft performance, and operating within established aircraft limitations. Impairment may cause a pilot to exceed these limitations and lose control of the aircraft. Are You an Impaired Pilot? Of… Read More »

No evidentiary hearing, no problem

By Phillip Bantz, South Carolina Lawyers Weekly Trial judges can skip past full-blown evidentiary hearings and witness testimony and jump right into deciding whether a defendant is entitled to self-defense immunity under South Carolina’s version of the “stand your ground” law, according to a decision that divided the former and current leaders of the state’s Supreme… Read More »


By Joan Lowy, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — So many people are registering drones and applying for drone pilot licenses that federal aviation officials say they are contemplating the possibility of millions of unmanned aircraft crowding the nation’s skies in the not-too-distant future. In the nine months since the Federal Aviation Administration created a drone registration… Read More »

Court rules owners must pay when police destroy property

By Phillip Bantz, South Carolina Lawyers Weekly Law enforcement officers needn’t worry about paying for property they damage in the line of duty, according to a novel decision that divided the South Carolina Supreme Court and left a pair of business owners holding the bag after police bulldozed their convenience store. The issue of whether… Read More »

Small UAS Rules and Third Class Medical Reform

By Ken Mead, AOPA General Counsel Over the past 60 days there have been significant developments related to the FAA’s new rule on the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and Third Class Medical Reform. Because you are a Panel Attorney for AOPA’s Legal Services Plan, we would like to share with you our… Read More »

Restaurant, drunken driver pay $3.75M to settle dram shop suit

By Phillip Bantz, South Carolina Lawyers Weekly A well-known restaurant chain has paid a $3.25 million settlement to a road crew worker who alleged that he was the victim of an over-served patron. The patron paid the worker an additional $500,000 to resolve the case. The worker, Calvin Singleton, alleged in a dram shop action filed… Read More »

A case in which the Court determined that warrantless blood tests incident to an arrest for drunk driving violate the Fourth Amendment, but warrantless breath tests incident to an arrest for drunk driving do not.

Birchfield v. North Dakota, Oyez, https://www.oyez.org/cases/2015/14-1468 (last visited Sep 4, 2016). Facts of the case: Danny Birchfield drove into a ditch in Morton County, North Dakota. When police arrived on the scene, they believed Birchfield was intoxicated. Birchfield failed both the field sobriety tests and the breath test. He was arrested, but he refused to… Read More »